Seventies shot.jpg

I'm Jaq. 

Warning: Contains a little bit of potty-mouthed humour where necessary and an overuse of coconut oil. I also eye off other people's whisky, as depicted here. 

Higher Learning

Higher Learning

Photo by  Suad Kamardeen  on  Unsplash

Joan Rivers started University this week, so of course it’s all about me.

I know what you’re about to say.

‘Well, where the bloody hell have you been, and where’s my pointless yet mildly entertaining twaddle?’

Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to tickling your funny (and possibly creaky) bones. I have so appreciated all the requests for my columns while I have had a spell over summer, thank you gorgeous people. It’s humbling for moi to know you like them, or at least have nothing better to read.

We have been busy getting back to it. The QE2 is settling in to year 8, I returned to radio with my liver-bursting wit and setting up my own marketing consulting business (because I had five minutes), and Joan Rivers started university this week, 30 years after I did and at my old campus no less ( I hear you doing the math. Yes I am old). The Muller girls are coming out of the gates with gusto let me tell you.

Of course with my daughter starting uni comes a reflection of my own experiences during tertiary education. Ahhh good times! However, Joan and I are different beasts so her take may differ from my own.

For example Joan went out to a party a couple of weeks ago.

Moi (hearing the back door open): ‘Is that you Joan?’

Joan Rivers: ‘Yeah Mum.’

Moi: ‘What time do you call this young lady?’

Joan Rivers: ‘It’s only 11pm.’

Moi: ‘Exactly, get back out there and have some fun. Seriously where did you come from?’

Joan Rivers: ‘I was tired and wanted to come home.’

Moi (under my breath): ‘Oh for f*&*$ sake.’

I think you get the idea.

We are both starting new phases of our life which has its challenges and fears, mixed with excitement and learning about ourselves, so we have that much in common to ponder over Aperol Spritzsesesses (what is the bloody plural?).

Anyway back to me…….and MY uni experience.

To be honest I was not massively into parties until I got to university and the misguided decision to live on campus in my first year. While we all agree ‘what happens on campus stays on campus’, there is one story that I will share…

I was blessed to be assigned to on-campus accommodation with ‘creative thinkers’ such as myself. This led to an agenda choc full of capers and shenanigans involving nutty fun with toilet paper and McDonald’s banners and the odd class thrown in, to keep our grades up. The three girls of the house quickly became a tight knit trio and soon our mutual need to conserve money without compromising our social activities led us to the obvious decision…..we would brew our own beer.

Lucky for us there was an on-campus beer home brewing club (phew) and we stormed the charge for all womankind by being the only all-girl beer brewing team. Ahhhh the pride.

This afforded us some willing mentors who were keen to see us up and running. We got kitted out with all the malarkey required to make our own boutique and, god willing, consumable brew.

Unfortunately no one told us that brewing your own beer is not like baking a cake. You can’t make it and drink it in the same day. WHAT THE? Disappointment pushed aside we thought the sooner we got on with brewing, then the quicker the weeks required for its gestation would be over. I think back on it and recall how we three gals standing around the brew bucket eager to see us concoct a devilish elixir to combat the long-held reign of men who had dominated the beer-brewing culture of Monash University, drew parallels with the three witches from MacBeth. See, I did turn up to an English Lit lecture or two.


We managed to siphon a batch of 60 or so bottles ready for chrysalis soon to emerge as liquid gold…..mmmm. As it turned out the only place we could think to store this science experiment was none other than the shower recess. We had two showers in a house of six. It was a sacrifice that the group was prepared to make for the sake of a cheap bottle of beer, so long as you didn’t take into account the cost of the equipment, registration fees with the beer brewing club, a couple of botched batches and um….yeah.

Two weeks into the baby beer cryo-sleep and in the dead of night while the house was dark and still, I sat upright in bed to the sound of a distant POP! Then POP, POP, POP!

Moi (shouting in pained agony): ‘Shit the beer!’

Bounding into the hallway I repeat and raise the alarm for the entire household. Disheveled bodies staggered out of doors as the realisation and panic set in. You see my friends, if during the fermentation process, one of the bottle tops blows off due to an insecurely fastened top, not only does the lid burst off but un-brewed beer (I don’t know the technical term) spurts out. The real travesty is that it can set off all the other bottles if not saved in due course. This suddenly became a rescue mission of critical timing.

Springing into action the household converged into the shower/lab just as the symphony of bottle tops began their unwanted serenade. The only thing to do was to rescue the unpopped bottles toot sweet. In our night gowns we formed a passing line while being drenched in spurting fermenting liquid.

It soon became apparent that our male house mates had stopped assisting. Apparently the sight of their three female co-habitants in their booze-soaked nighties running around saving beer bottles was a thing.


About half the haul lived to ferment another day. The inventory ended up as thus:

  • Bottles submitted for judging to the home brewing club 5

  • Allocation per housemate 4

  • Subsequent home brew batches 0

I thought it only fair that I take a bottle home for dad the following weekend since he was forking out for the experiment and in fact my education in reality.

Dad: ‘What did you learn at uni this week pumpkin?’

Moi: ‘How to brew beer Dad.’

Dad: ‘That’s nice sweetie.’

Come to think of it, Joan Rivers if you want to come home at 11pm then that’s fine by me.

Have a great week.

Jaq xxx

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